Tates Creek Christian Church

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Archive for the tag “I Am a Church Member”

Church Membership?

Whenever Zella & I have moved to a new ministry, one of the very first things we have done is move our membership! Why did we do that? We wanted the people to know that we desired to be a part of their fellowship and to identify with them as soon as possible. We wanted them to know that we were ready to serve right alongside of them.
Questions we often hear are: “Is church membership in the Bible?” “Is moving your membership to a local church in the Bible?” “Does the Bible speak of a formal membership?” “Isn’t being a part of the family of God possible without placing formal membership?” Those are good, thoughtful questions!
Technically, the Bible does not say anything about church membership! So, what is the purpose for church membership? Why do we do it?
Placing church membership encourages that local body of Christians! It really encourages their efforts in the Kingdom of God! It blesses them! Placing church membership communicates to that local body of Christians that you desire to serve alongside them! I remember when I was growing up on the dairy farm our cousins would come over to help us haul in the hay or help us harvest the tobacco crop. Their presence coming into the field was a great boost to us, help had arrived! The work didn’t seem as grueling, taxing, or hard! When our cousins came walking into the field, we actually had fun working together! The same is true for church membership. When folks come walking up the aisle to place membership, their decision to do that really blesses the local body of Christians! Church membership is not a requirement to serve in many areas of ministry at Tates Creek Christian! However, church membership is a requirement to be a teacher or a leader such as an Elder, Deacon, or Ministry Team Leader.
I also think church membership is much more meaningful than being a part of a club; church membership is very special! It is saying that I want to be a part of your church family! Now, being a part of family is very precious! In our church family, we laugh together; cry together; pray together; study together; serve together; and worship our Lord together!
If you are not a member of Tates Creek, we would love to have you!
I love being a member of the Tates Creek Christian Church Family!

Tommy Simpson

How Do We Function Together?

The Church is a messy place, as it should be. It is full of imperfect and broken people and hypocrites. That would include all of us. The good news is that Jesus came for sinners. Mark 2:17 says, “And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”” The fact is, there are none righteous. We know this to be true, but Romans 3:10-18 serves as a reminder:

“As it is written:
“None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good, not even one.”
“Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
“Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery,
and the way of peace they have not known.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:10-18 ESV)

Just a few verses later we find a scripture that we are very familiar with. Romans 3:23, “for ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (emphasis added by me).
So there is no question that we are all sinners. We are all messed up. We are all broken. We have all been hurt, and we have all hurt others. We all have fallen short. The question is, how do we function together as the body of Christ? How do we work with each other? How do we overcome bad attitudes and differences within the church? Those are some tough questions that make life in the local church hard at times.
I didn’t grow up in church. So, in the past 20 years, I have gone from knowing nothing about the church, to working in the local church for the past 14 years. It has been an adventure to say the least! As a full-time vocational minister, I have seen the struggles and battles within the church first hand. I have received complaints, criticisms, and judgment. I have seen fights, quarrels, and other ministers treated very poorly. I have seen a place where sin and brokenness show themselves often. But more importantly, I have seen lives changed, redemption, and have been encouraged, lifted up, blessed, mentored, and guided by the church and it’s people.
When we accept who we are in Christ, what his purpose is for the church, and us as its members, we will experience much more positive than negative in the church. When we choose to serve like Jesus and not come to be served, we will gain the correct and biblical perspective.
The series that we are going through based on the book “I Am A Church Member” by Thom S. Rainer, has been such an enlightening study for me. If you haven’t read through the book, I would highly encourage you to do so. I just read through it a second time before writing this article. It took a little less than an hour to read the whole book, and I’m a pretty slow reader! This is such a valuable read. It offers great perspective and great reminders about what it means to be a functioning member of the body of Christ. It has helped me personally to identify some areas where I have fallen short as a church member, areas where I’m not pulling my weight. I really think you would gain a lot by reading it. It serves as a great reminder to me that I should not complain about other members of the church, their preferences, or their shortcomings, but rather that I should focus on what kind of church member I am. I can effect change through the kind of church member I am. And so can you!
Tates Creek Christian Church is not a perfect church. There is no such thing, because churches consist of people, and there are no perfect people. However, we do worship a God who is perfect. A God who saves and redeems. As long as we keep our focus and our mindset on God and His Kingdom, we will go a long way in functioning as the church God wants us to be.
It is an honor and a privilege to serve alongside such wonderful people! Thank you all for allowing me to serve with you! May God bless this church and may we become a church fully submitted to Him!

Mike Allen

The B’s of Church Members

As I write this article, we as a congregation are about to embark on a journey together, learning or reinforcing what it means to be a church member. Some of us will jump into reading the book I Am a Church Member with enthusiasm, others with a sense of apprehension. Why? Because we may learn that being a church member may warrant change. And lets face it, change in what we think, believe, and do is quite often difficult. I am hoping that we all can fall into the first category and anticipate how we can grow into being a better member of the local church.
I have not yet read the book as I am writing this about 10 days before we start our journey, but please allow me to share a few things I have learned in being a church member since age 9…a long time ago!
B faithful in church attendance. We are finding some alarming statistics regarding church attendance in recent years. Many feel that they are “active” members if they attend a worship service every 4-6 weeks. In former days, if someone was absent from worship for a week or two, we were checking up on them to see if they were ill, traveling, or absent because of a problem. Now, it is more difficult to know since weekly church attendance is on the wane. How can we feel that we truly belong if we miss out on the teaching, fellowship, and contact that we need by gathering with fellow Christians? We were not created to be on the Christian journey alone.
B involved in at least one ministry of the local church. Those who do more than sit in the pew find great joy in serving. Yes, it does require more of us, but knowing that we are giving of ourselves in helping where we are needed brings a greater sense of being a part of God’s Kingdom.
B concerned for the needs of other members and for those who need to know Jesus. It is so easy to become comfortable in looking at our needs and to forget that someone sitting near us or on our street may need us. I remember the song that was popular when I graduated from high school and was sung at our commencement: “No Man Is an Island.”
These three B’s do not provide an exhaustive list, but do provide a starting points for us. I know from experience that my life has greater purpose and joy if I focus on at least these three.

Don Seevers

I Will Treasure Church Membership as a Gift

Remembering years past, as a child or young adult, can you recall those many special gifts family members or friends have given you? Do you remember which gift meant the most or made you the happiest?
As important as each of those gifts were, no greater gift has ever been given or received than the gift of salvation given freely by Jesus Christ. For all of us who are in Christ, we have received the free gift of salvation, not earned by our deeds, rather paid in full by the blood of Jesus Christ. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is Jesus Christ”. Romans:3:23-24
Through this free gift of eternal salvation, we are reborn as a member into the body of Christ. ”Now you are the body of Christ, and individual members of it” 1 Corinthians 12:27. When we receive the glorious gift of eternal salvation and church membership, let us glorify God with humble hearts, seeking to serve and grow his kingdom!
My friends, let us challenge ourselves to love thy neighbor even if thy neighbor is sitting in “our” spot. Let us encourage new faces attending our church with a simple smile and a welcoming hello. Let us look beyond our own personal preference, remembering we are a church family and we want everyone to be reached. Let us seek outreach opportunities, past these church walls, in an effort to bring the lost and unknown to God. Let us become involved with our youth ministry, sharing our life experiences and letting them know they matter and God loves them. Let us invest our time to mentor and council our younger members, growing their faith, understanding, and trust in God.
As recipients of the greatest gift of love, the gift of eternal salvation, let us cherish our membership here at Tates Creek, seizing every opportunity to glorify God through acts of service, patience, encouragement, kindness, and love.

Russell Brown

A Home for Our Family

I remember going to a wedding back at the beginning of the 2000’s. It was at a large church on Tates Creek Road. I remember thinking it was a very pretty place, but never thought much more about it. I had a home church of sorts in Northern Kentucky where my mother and I lived, but it wasn’t really somewhere that we went on a consistent basis.
Fast forward through the decade, Lucas and I got married and had Caitlan, but we still were not going anywhere every Sunday. We decided that we really needed to find a home for ourselves so that our daughter would be able to grow up knowing Jesus and all that He is. We ran into a family member and they invited us to come to their church, which just happens to be that same place I visited so long ago for the wedding. After only three Sundays, Lucas and I transferred membership to TCCC and haven’t looked back since. I became more involved with the preschool department, helping Judy with the little ones, and began attending a small group. We finally found what we were looking for, a home for our family. Through the years we have made such amazing friendships with so many people, and could not imagine going through life with anyone else. You may be thinking this is just because I’m a staff member, but I know that many of my friends share this same sentiment. We are there through the blessings and happy times, and we are also there to pick each other up when things drop out of nowhere and land hard. When I think of being a church member, family is what comes to the front of my mind, and there is no better one than what we have here.

Lesley Tipton

The Healthy Church

If asked, I imagine that anyone would respond positively to the question “Do you want your church to be a healthy church?” But then they may think to themselves, “What exactly does it mean for my church to be healthy?”
This is a complicated question that can be answered from a few different vantage points. The first is Spiritual. Is my relationship with God a vibrant one? Do I find joy in serving him? At Tates Creek we have a large number of ways to learn who God is and what he wants from us. But it is up to each individual to take those learnings and put them in to practice. A healthy spiritual relationship is one where you can communicate freely with Him. Where you can trust his plan and how you are a part of that plan. It is a relationship where you want to serve him freely so that others too, can experience the joy of knowing Him.
The second vantage point is family. This includes both your physical family and your church family. Every family experiences feelings of unity and conflict. When everyone has the same focus, unity seems to follow along. When there are different objectives there can be conflict. When someone does not live up to another’s expectations, there can be disappointment. Successful families work together for the common good. They discuss their differences, listen to each other, and encourage each other through difficult times. They focus on the long term success of the individuals and the whole. The church is the same way. A healthy church has a mission and a set of focus items that work towards fulfilling that mission. It has a body that communicates well, works through its differences, and supports each other. A healthy church family works together, supporting the mission of the church.
The third is community. What happens within the church can be considered family issues. How the church interfaces with those around us is our community relationship. A healthy church finds joy in serving the community of which it is a part. It is one that demonstrates the love of Jesus to all of those in need and to those who have not come to know him. A healthy church is like the one described throughout the book of Acts.
Is Tates Creek a healthy church? I think so. However, just like me, it can be healthier. I should be changing the things I do so that I can better work through all the challenges God places before me. He expects much from His people and His church. Let us all work together to grow in our spiritual relationship with him, to become a closer family and to be a brighter light for Him in our community.

Mike Mirre

Everyone Has a Job

Growing up in rural Indiana had a lot of great benefits such as, space between you and your neighbor’s house, being as loud as we want all the time, a slower pace in life, yard with no fences, bike rides around the neighborhood, and beautiful sunsets. One of the biggest benefits was being a farm kid. While I didn’t always love the chores and challenges on the farm, I always knew there was a reason bigger than me. Our farm was more of a recreational activity with horses, a couple cows, and a random goat. For my family, the farm was a method for ministry and a retreat from ministry. Our farms were always used for church gatherings and family events, but our farms were also our own place to retreat when we needed to unplug. Everyone loved going horseback riding, hiking trails, riding the 4-wheelers, and fishing in the pond.
Unless you grew up on a farm or helped at some point, it is not a challenge to think a farm stays beautiful on it’s own. When people met our new baby foals they probably didn’t think about the hours invested in waiting for the mare to deliver or sleeping in the back of a truck bed on a school night to make sure she was ok. It may even cross a person’s mind to think silly things like, “How did 600 square bales of hay find their way from the field where they magically grew in square shapes with wires into that loft 12 feet off the ground?” While all of these things were lots of hard work, and I really miss it now, we learned some great lessons. When it was bailing time we all had a role to play. Mom drove the tractor, dad kept things working, my brothers and I shared the duties of working the wagon and the loft. My sister made sure we survived by bringing lunch, drinks, and homemade cookies. In order to get the job done it required all hands on deck. As we graduated and moved away, the job became more challenging for those still behind. Same amount of work, but less workers to do it.
As we study together about being a church member and what is expected of us, I think back to the lessons I learned on the farm. At the end of the day, when the job was done, I knew I had done everything I could with the strength I had to help my family feed the horses and keep things going. Farm work and being part of the team wasn’t really about talents, skills, and passions God gave you. It was about bringing your best, pitching in, and getting the job done. This is my prayer for you and me as we grow together. Maybe it’s time for each of us to bring our best and let God take care of the rest!

Matt Lee

Membership, Fellowship

I was a member of a volunteer fire department when I was a younger man and it was a great camaraderie we shared. We met every Monday evening for a meeting where we trained, maintained the equipment, and just had a good time together. Occasionally, we would have special events where we would meet on a Saturday to practice our skills such as rescuing from heights, connecting the pumpers to hydrants, and the proper operation of the jaws of life tool, which was designed to extricate people from wrecked vehicles. I always looked forward to Monday nights because I enjoyed the guys and the time spent together. Despite the fun we had, it was a serious business. The purpose was not the camaraderie, the training, or the proficiency using the equipment. The purpose was that of protecting life and property. I remember very vividly fires we fought and accidents where we employed the jaws of life.

When thinking about being a church member, I think it is much the same as my being a member of that fire department. There is a rich fellowship here. We spend time learning together and becoming proficient in the Word of God. But again, despite the joy we share together here, we are involved in a serious business. It is the business of saving souls. It is the business of battling the fires of Hell. It is the business of rescuing people from the wreckage of broken lives. Now despite the fact that fire fighting can be a dangerous business, no fire fighter would hesitate to involve themselves in the effort. How much more commitment to the task we should have when the fate of people’s souls hang in the balance! May our commitment to the task be as strong, or even stronger, than the bond of love we share at our meetings on Sunday!

Kim Beckwith

I Will Pray for My Church Leaders

I would encourage all of us to pray. Jesus our Lord and Savior not only taught us to pray (Matthew 6:5 – 14, Luke 11: 1 – 13), He often prayed himself. He even prayed for you and me, John 17 records, what some Bibles call “The High Priestly Prayer”. In this prayer Jesus prays for himself and His disciples. John 17:20 says “My prayer is not for them alone (His disciples). I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.” Brothers and Sisters, that is us. He is praying for you and me!
Why would Jesus pray? He is the Son of God, after all. The answer to that question is found in Philippians 2:5 -7, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” He is not only God, He is also human. We as humans need the power of God in our lives, and that power is availed to us through prayer.
Here are some other things the Bible says about prayer: Romans 8:26, 27 says “In the same way the spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us, with groans that words cannot express.” The Spirit helps us pray. I Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to “pray continually”. Make it a habit to pray, it is a good habit, do not quit. I Timothy 2:1, 2 instructs us: “I urge then first of all, that requests, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” Pray for everyone, especially for our church leaders.
Who are our church leaders? They are our ministers, elders, deacons, teachers, ministry team leaders, and so forth. What should we pray for? We should pray for wisdom in their preaching, teaching, holding to the word of truth, their families, health (physical & spiritual), protection against the devil, and evil men, the list goes on. It is important that we keep lifting them up in prayer!

Larry Critchfield

Preferences – Matthew 20:26-28

Recently, our church came together for what we call One Church One Body. We do this each year in an effort to bring all members of our church family together. We do this to worship and sing with one voice and to partake of the Lord’s Supper as one family. It encourages unity and love among fellow believers. We sing both traditional and contemporary songs as we lift up our Lord. It is our hope this service is conducted in a manner pleasing to God and in accordance with Paul’s instruction to the church in Rome:
Romans 15:5-6
“Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Unfortunately some members refuse to participate in this service! They are unwilling to worship alongside fellow brothers and sisters unless the format of worship suits their individual preferences. Sadly, we see this occurring in churches all around us. Some churches even divide and collapse because of it.
There is nothing wrong with preferences. We all have them which is why some attend traditional and others contemporary services. But does it glorify God if we allow our preferences to dictate whether or not we worship? Jesus told us to love our neighbors as ourselves. We will never get to know our neighbor if we let our preferences become a wall between us. The apostle Paul stressed unity in worship in his letter to the church of Colossae.
Colossians 3:14-16
“And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.”
Regardless of what we sing, songs of praise come from our lips; true worship is found in our hearts!

David Martin

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